Updated from Sept. 24 to include additional information in the third paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The release of a new iPhone might not elicit the overnight waiting-in-line crowds like it used to, as this will mark the ninth straight year that Apple (AAPL) has put a new iPhone on the shelves.
Still, no tech company is better at drumming up enthusiasm for its "next big thing" like Apple. The company announced earlier this month that pre-orders were on pace to surpass 10 million. A look at Apple's U.S. and Chinese Web sites show all the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models are sold out ahead of the Sept. 25 launch.
Website iFixit, which has a history of tearing down the phones to see what's inside,revealed the new iPhone 6s has a slightly smaller battery than last years' model.
For better or worse, consumers care about Apple devices more than anything that has the name Microsoft (MSFT) , Samsung (SSNLF) or Google (GOOGL) (GOOG) on it. Which is why people will still get up early to be at their local Apple store on Friday when the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus become available to the masses.
With that in mind, here's a look at some things you should know as you decide if the new iPhones are for you.
1. The phones will be available.
Apple says the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will be on the shelves and available for "walk-in customers" at its retail stores around the U.S. and in 10 other countries at 8 a.m. local time. This, of course, will be dependent upon demand, and Apple encourages customers to arrive early.
Of course, you could have pre-ordered a new iPhone starting on Sept. 12, too.
2. But what about the Pope?
If you live in New York or Philadelphia and your Apple store is all out of iPhones, please don't take it out on Apple employees. Blame it on Pope Francis.
The Catholic pontiff is in the middle of his first visit to the U.S., and he hits New York in force on Friday. The Pope's itinerary includes a visit to the United Nations, a procession through Central Park for which 80,000 tickets were awarded in a citywide lottery and, finally, a mass at Madison Square Garden Friday night.
What does the Pope's visit have to do with the iPhone release? A lot. Security and traffic controls are expected to be tight throughout Manhattan, and may result in iPhone shipments not getting to retail outlets in time for stores to open on Friday. While not mentioning Pope Francis directly, Apple has even taken the precaution of sending notices to customers who have pre-ordered iPhones, saying their phone may be delayed due to "traffic restrictions."
3. Which carriers will have the new iPhone?
The days and years of AT&T (T) being the only place in town to get an iPhone are long gone. In addition to AT&T, the other major wireless carriers in the U.S. -- Sprint (S) , T-Mobile USA (TMUS) and Verizon (VZ) -- will have the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for sale at their retail stores, too. Additional carriers and Apple authorized resellers will also have the iPhones, as will Apple Stores.
4. What will it cost?
This is where things get a little tricky. Mobile phone carriers are doing away with the subsidies that used to bring down the cost of iPhones and other high-end smartphones to more-reasonable levels. The end of the dreaded two-year contract is on the horizon.
Now, the base model iPhone 6s with 16 gigabytes of storage costs $649, and the introductory iPhone 6s Plus, with the same amount of storage, starts at $749. However, the leading mobile phone carriers are offering installment plans that allow a consumer to spread the payments out, typically over two years, at around $27 a month.
Apple is also offering its own installment plan, which lets you get an unlocked iPhone 6s for $32 a month and the ability to upgrade your phone every year.
5. What's under the hood?
"The only thing that's changed is everything," said Apple Chief Executive Timothy D. Cook about the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus when he unveiled them on Sept. 9. Even for Apple, which loves hyperbole, it was a bold statement.
So, what has really changed?
Well, for starters, the new iPhones run on Apple's A9 processor, which Apple says is 70% faster than the A8 chip in last year's iPhone 6.
But there are two features that will really stand out for consumers. One is 3D Touch, a technology that senses the amount of pressure put on the phone and then allows a person to see more of what is inside a document, like an email, and easily return to where he or she was before. The other is Live Photos, a feature that records 1.5 seconds of video before and after a picture is taken to add motion to the still image.